Suppose I want to learn TeX. Then, is The TeXBook a complete source? Does it cover all relevant aspects of TeX? Or is there something worth learning about TeX which is not present there?

Does "TeX programming" also appear there?

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    Very much depends what you want to do: it covers TeX but not LaTeX (ConTeXt, ...), only Knuth's engine (TeX90 syntax) and not specials (beyond their existence). For programming, many people like TeX by Topic but as a companion to The TeXbook. I think we need more detail on what you want/need to do. – Joseph Wright Feb 14 '14 at 11:05
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    It depends what you want to know, that is book A in the series, you can also get a book giving the full source to tex the program and others two describing and giving the source of metafont and the computer modern fonts. If you want to know how tex is used in latex or tikz etc then of course texbook says nothing. – David Carlisle Feb 14 '14 at 11:07
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    @user46181 plain TeX (as described in the TeXBook) is really a base example demonstration format. It specifically does not have commands for higher level document use such as automatic cross referencing and numbering, although of course it describes the primitives that could enable you to write such commands. – David Carlisle Feb 14 '14 at 12:01
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    Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look at our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format. A suggestion: Do us a favour and change your username to something more telling than "user1234". – Martin Schröder Feb 14 '14 at 14:25
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    one thing you should take into consideration when learning a "dialect" of tex is whether you intend to publish your work, and what are the requirements of the intended publisher/publication. plain tex allows one full freedom, but many publishers (for good reasons, largely but not completely economic) will not accept home-grown code. that said, if you have a good grounding in the basics, and are willing to adapt later to publishers' requirements, you will gain a deeper understanding of how things work if you "start at the bottom" with the texbook and tex by topic. – barbara beeton Feb 14 '14 at 15:15

The TeXbook is only about TeX and Plain TeX, the program created by Knuth himself and its first format (also created by him).

It says nothing, for example, about the LaTeX or ConTeXt formats, nor about more modern engines like pdfTeX, XeTeX, LuaTeX… (Nota Bene: To be allowed to exist, all those evolutions had to be named differently than TeX and/or Plain TeX.)

It remains a very useful reading if you want to learn more about how things are made at the lower levels.

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    Worth noting it doesn't speak about eTeX extensions. – yo' Oct 15 '15 at 19:48

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